I have been doing about a month of research on this topic as I planning a move soon. Here is the good and bad news…
The Good News: Dubai, Qatar, and Bharain pays foreign teachers the highest salary – an average of $42,000 per year.
The Bad News: China, Bolivia, and Haiti are at the bottomof the list at an average of $14,000 per year.
This may surprise you considering all the hype the internet ads put out about China. You may want to read this article…
Actually there are 27 countries that pay at least 50% more than China, including Japan and Korea.
I think one key element missing here is the amount you need to live on locally. Sure, the Middle East pays well but the cost of living is quite high; and sure in China the pay can be quite low but the cost of living is quite low.
It’s thus very hard to directly compare salaries in, say, Switzerland and India and say because Switzerland pays more you have more in your pocket at the end of the day.
One site I recommend is Numbeo which allows you to see the relative cost of living in different countries.
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The local cost of living in China or another foreign country means nothing when you have bills or a student loan to pay off in dollars back home! What counts to me is how many dollars I van earn every month (or the equivalent) – not how cheap it is to live in a foreign country.
This is why every foreigner teacher I knew who went to teach in China came home broke or damn near to it.
Another thing to keep in mind is all the extra benefits. In Thailand, I made a decent salary, but without any extra benefits. I had to pay for my own apartment and transportation to and from work. In Japan, I make a decent salary in addition to a housing subsidy and transportation allowance. Even though it is expensive to live in Japan, I am able to save more money than in Thailand.
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